App to hide secret porn stashes booted from iPhone App Store

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Private Photo
There's little doubt what kind of images were expected to be hidden by Private Photo.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple apparently removed some software from its App Store that allows users to hide images behind an innocent front. However, this doesn’t appear to be part of a general crackdown on this type of app.

Digital Mind Co.’s Private Photo (Calculator%) got singled out by police and parental watchdog groups who were concerned that teenagers would use it to conceal illicit images. The app functions as a calculator, but entering a password allows access to a secret image vault.

Private Photo and its sister app Private Browser  appear on an iPhone as Calculator%, with icons that look like calculators. Another title from this company, Calculator+, looks equally innocent. But they all include hidden image repositories. The advertising for these includes a lot of female skin, so there’s no doubt when the developer expected them to be used for.

Apple made no official statement about the removal, nor has Digital Mind Co. Still, Business Insider points it that Private Photo is no longer on the App Store, with links from the developer’s website non-functional. The same is true of Private Browser and Calculator+.

Private Photo was mis-rated

At the same time, very similar software like Secret photos KYMS and Safe -Photo Hider & Pic Locker are still on the App Store, indicating that Apple hasn’t decided all such software is forbidden. These are rated 17+ though, so parents can easily block their kids from downloading them. Digital Mind Co.’s offerings were rated 4+, allowing teens to install them. 

Plus, the other similar apps didn’t garner so much attention. A U.S. District Attorney singled out Private Photo, and so did the Durham U.K. Police.

The internet made pornography almost inescapable, and adults who want to keep a private collection on their mobile device can turn to this type of software. Even Tim Cook doesn’t care. But parents have the right and duty to keep porn away from their children, and need to watch out for software designed to hide it. A first step in this process is to block mature apps from being installed.